Terminology

This list is a work in progress prepared by Nicholas Bogiatzis, and published on the KAV website with his kind permission.

On this page:

Terminology for costume items
Terminology for jewellery
Terminology for coins

See the gallery for images of clothing, jewellery and coins of Kastellorizo.


Terminology for costume items

BOUKLES – A set of six elaborate round, chased silver or gold plated fibulae (boukles) used to fasten the Poukamiso, with the lowest carrying a small Maltese cross. Singular is Boukla.
GOUNA – Long silk-velvet coat, usually in purple or red with gold embroidery, and edged in fur.  A shorter version is called kontogouni or kontohi.
JEWELLERY – Much gold jewellery was worn – rings, bracelets and chains of gold coins around the neck, as well as earrings from multiply pierced ears.
KALTSES or KALSES ­– Knitted socks (or hosiery?)
KAVADHI or CHRISSOS SAKKOS –Open silk brocade kaftan.
KONTOURES – Gold embroidered velvet slipper style shoes with leather soles, in an Eastern slipper style, often shorter than the foot. The women would embroider the uppers and a “Papoutsi” (shoemaker) would turn them into shoes.
MANDILI or KREPI – Large silk fringed shawl, worn over the head and draped over shoulders (sourced from Spain, Alexandria, Ceylon, India and China). In widowhood a darker shawl with minimal decoration was worn.
POUKAMISO – Long loose-fitting cotton, or silk, knee length shirt or chemise
TSAKI or FESAKI – Small cap over which was worn a large embroidered Mandili, or shawl, fastened with special pins.
TSILANIOTIKO –  Kastellorizian word ­ – (based on the Greek version of the word ‘Ceylon”- Tsilan). A type of mandili resist dyed, from Ceylon and found in Kastellorizo.  It is the dark, resist dyed cloths on which the rings at the logo were threaded.  It is also used to refer to certain types of mandilia, and may have been the widow’s.
VRAKI – baggy cotton trouser or pantaloons gathered at the waist with a cord (vrakozoni) with a decorative brocaded base which showed below the kavadhi.
ZEPOUNI –  A short jacket worn, instead of the kavadhi, usually of a bright satin-silk.  It is similar to that worn by young children, and may have been for young girls, or for everyday.  Nick Bogiatzis is pretty sure it was called a zepouni, but for some reason has a reservation about it at the moment…
ZOSMA – Long wide silk cloth bound low around the hips.

There were 3 versions of the one outfit.  A simpler one for an unmarried girl, usually with a kontogouni;  the full thing for the married woman and nifi; and a darker jewellery-less version of a widow.


Terminology for jewellery

ARMATHIA: A chain of coins, usually gold, worn around the neck by women.
BOUKLA (PORPI): A silver, or gold plated fibula, usually one of six used to hold closed the woman’s ‘poukamiso’, or chemise. The bottom boukla had a Maltese cross hanging from it. Its design is traditionally set with flower forms with granular decorations in the Etruscan manner.
BOUKLA TIS KALSTODHETAS: Small boucles used as stocking suspenders, and could be visible at times when walking. (Kaltsodelta was an elastic band holding the stocking up before stocking suspenders were invented).
CHRYSOKOUTSA aka KOUFOKOUKKIA (empty beans): They are long multifaceted, hollow beads worn in chain necklaces, or with coin earring, and reputedly made in Kasos. They were popular on Kastellorizo, probably from Egypt, but found as far as India, and reputedly accumulated singly.
FILIGRANAS (ΦΙΛΙΓΚΡΑΝΑΣ): Filigree work for jewellery and serving spoons and forks. GALATOUSA: A milk coloured, or deep red stone believed to assist in breast-feeding.
GKORFI (Το Γκορφí):A hanging jewel, often a pectoral cross, worn on a long chain, often given to boys. A valuable stone worn in this way was similarly named. Aka ‘enkolbion’ (εγκολπιον). It may also be the fob or albert worn by men.
HAIMALI: An amulet. These are usually a silver triangle with coins, often gold, attached, and given to children as a ‘filakto’ (protective amulet). If square or rectangular, they were called KASTANAKIA, though this term may also refer to a silver amulet worn on a child’s cap.
KALITSASI (Καλίτσασι): Blue stone, or stone from agate (αχάτι) worn by children within a gold or silver setting. Aka ‘Kalikasi’.
KARFOVELONES: Jewellery, or ‘karfitses’ used to pin the mandili to stabilize it on to the ‘tsaki’. Usually a row of two or three gold coins.
KASTANAKI: See HAIMALI
KOUTHOUNAKIA: The silver filigree buttons worn on the males’ yeleks, or waistcoats.
LAKOTO: Probably from the word ‘lako’ meaning a hollow or a dip. See SELINATO below. It may also refer to the dish shaped Byzantine coins (scyphate or cup coins).
LINGIRAKI: A ‘lingos’ is the pin in the boukla.
LIRENIO: Bracelet or necklace made from rows of gold coin lires, or earrings of gold coins.
MAKOUTSIA: Diamond rings. See also Nihata.
MATI TIS PANAYIAS or THALASOMATA: A small circular shell with coloured swirls worn against the evil eye, the Diavasconia. Probably the operculum (turban operculum) of the sea snail, and related to the catseye shell.
MBLEXOUDΗA: Ornament used as a necklace, suggesting a woven style.
NIHATA: Rings in the marquise (pointed oval) shape.
OFIDΗES: popular jewellery in the form of a snake.
PSATHA (ΨΑΦΑ): A length of velvet on which were sown chains of cascading gold coins. For the psathes, the coins would be ranked in rows with pentolires, then tetralires, then matzaries, then mahmoutiedhes and finally dilires.
PSATHOTA: The term ‘psathota’ is used to refer to bracelets of woven metal.
SASOUNA: It is a modification or reproduction of the European child’s silver whistles, often with the silver bells replaced by gold coins, traditional gifts for young boys only, proffering prosperity and good luck. The whistle was a teething tool, common in the west for centuries. These were both imported and made on Kastellorizo, usually of silver, or some mix of silver, noting Ottoman silver was of varying grades. It was both ornament and a haimali, and worn on a chain.
SELINATO: This is associated with the terms ‘Konstantinato’, or ‘Lakoto’. If the coin is without a frame, it is called a ‘Lakoto Konstantinato’, if with a frame, an ‘Ayio Selinato’. It is thought the term comes from ‘Ayia Eleni’, the name Eleni based on the word ‘selino’ (σεληνη: moon, not σελινι: shilling), the circular shape being reminiscent of the circle of the moon. Kazzi wedding song: Επηρα μας τον ηλιον και την κερα Σελενη.
SITATOS LAIMOS: A necklace or bracelet. The term may come from the word for grain, or be from SITAFENIOS meaning mother of pearl.
Piasamen eis to xoro, hairia malamatenia Πιασαμεν εις το χορο, χαιρια μαλαματενια
Me daktila kardiafota, kai nyhia zytafenia Με δακτιλα καρδιαφοτα, και νυχια ζυταφενια.
STRAVOFLOURI: A large almond shaped gold pendant with an embossed religious scene on each side, or with a coin in the centre. Often given to a child by a godparent.
TSERKENA aka TSERKIKA: A full set would include a pair of cuff bracelets, and a neckpiece, known as a ‘lemo’. It is a particular form of plaited metal, in single or double bands. As to its name, one hypothesis is that it is from the Turkish word: ‘çebe’, pronounced jebe, meaning ‘chain-mail’, ie plaited metal. Another is that it is from the Turkish ‘çerkez’ for ‘Circassian’, and they are also thought to be Armenian. Note also the terms ‘psathota’ and ‘mblexouda’.
VRILATOS: A coloured stone, usually red and cabochon cut.
VROULATOS LAIMOS: A necklace or bracelet made up of fine gold chains. It may also refer to rings (τα βρουλáτα). The term may come from ‘vroulo’ (βρουλó), or bulrush?


Terminology for coins:

HALKADHAKIA: The rings by which coins were attached. I was told they referred to gold rings but the word seems related to ‘halko’ or ‘little halko’, meaning small copper. It may also refer to hanging earrings.
KARTAKIA: Small coins of minor value, which may be the same as KASTANAKI, which are the smallest of the Greek coins worth a quarter of a lira. Used to ornament jewellery, usually children’s.
KONSTANTINATO: This term is widely used for coins or medallions throughout Greece. Its primary use was for the Venetian ducat, an important coin in Kastellorizian culture as it was imbued with a local mythology linking it to Saints Constantine and Helen. Most ducats from Kastellorizo have a hole as such coins were attached to talismans or in other jewellery such as earrings. Similarly Byzantine coins with two heads shown were also associated with these saints. (Byzantine coins: scyphate (cup-shaped) / trachy (rough). See also SELINATO.
LIRES: A seemingly generic term frequently referring to the English pound. Coins of various denominations were broadly standardized under the categories of pentolires, tetralires, dilires, or a single lira.
LOUISIA: Gold French coins used in jewellery, from the Louis d’or coins.
MAHMOUTIEDHES: Ottoman coins, which may cover a range of values. (1436)
MATZARIA or NTOUBLA: The large Austrian (Magyarian) Franz Josef (1848-1916) ducat coins. They may have been in different sizes or values.
NAPOLEONIA: A colloquial term for French gold coins from the time of
NTOUMBLES: See ‘matzaria’ above, though it can relate to coins from other countries such as Portugal, from the Spanish word and coin ‘doubloon’.
TALERO: Silver talero, patterned after the Austrian Maria Theresa ‘thaler’, from which the word ‘dollar’ derives. Aka ‘realia’.
TRIFOURENIA: Silver filigree. Such work was common through the Ottoman world, but also done on the island.
VENETIKA: Venetian ducats, or Konstatinata.